March 5, 2013
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech completes its regular-season basketball schedule this week with trips to the farthest points in the Atlantic Coast Conference, beginning with a trip to play 6th-ranked Miami at 9 p.m. Wednesday night in a regionally-televised game at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla.
Tech (15-13, 5-11 ACC) dropped its final home game of the regular season Sunday night with a 70-57 decision to NC State. The Yellow Jackets, 5-6 over its last 11 games after an 0-5 start in conference play this year, have made measurable progress this season that has been reflected in its overall and conference records, and enter the final week in a four-way tie for eighth place in the conference standings.
Wednesday’s game can be heard over the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network (790 AM, 106.7 FM in Atlanta), as well as satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 91, XM Ch. 91). The game is being televised on the ACC Network (WATL-TV in Atlanta), and is also available online on ESPN3.
Miami (23-5, 14-2) began its conference season under second-year head coach Jim Larranaga by whipping Georgia Tech, 62-49, at McCamish Pavilion on Jan. 5 and stands poised to clinch the ACC regular-season title outright with a victory Wednesday night. The Hurricanes enter the week on the heels of a 79-76 loss at Duke Saturday evening and have lost two of their last three games, but Miami is undefeated at home this season (13-0) and have won their seven home ACC games by an average of 18.4 points.
Following Wednesday’s game, the Yellow Jackets complete their regular season at Boston College on Saturday (12 noon).
Georgia Tech will travel 3,042 air miles this week – a round trip of 1,208 miles to Miami and 1,874 miles to Boston and back. The forecast high temperature in Miami Wednesday is 80 degrees, while the projected high Saturday in Boston is 41.
Georgia Tech is tied with Boston College, Clemson and Wake Forest for eighth place in the ACC standings at 5-11, one game ahead of 12th-place Virginia Tech (4-12).
Tech currently holds a tiebreaker over Wake Forest, while Clemson holds a tiebreaker over Tech, based on head-to-head record this season. Boston College plays both Clemson (away) and Georgia Tech this week.
After getting outrebounded in its first three ACC games this season by an average of 9.3, Tech has outrebounded nine of the last 13 teams it has played (one tie). In its last two games, Tech has outrebounded the No. 1 (Maryland) and No. 3 (NC State) teams in the ACC in rebound margin against league foes by an average of 4.0.
Tech’s 15 wins are its most since the 2009-10 season, when the Yellow Jackets went 23-13 (18-11 in the regular season, 7-9 in the ACC).
Tech is five games ahead of its 28-game mark from a year ago and has surpassed its conference win total (4) from 2011-12.
When Tech captured its second ACC road win at Wake Forest, it was the most for the team in one season since 2007-08, when the Yellow Jackets went 4-4. Tech was 3-29 in the four seasons in between.
Tech has improved its record in each month of this season over the corresponding month last season (see chart on page 6).
Tech coach Brian Gregory is approaching 200 career victories as a head coach. He has 198, including 172 in eight seasons as the head coach at Dayton.
Tech needs one more victory to secure a winning season (through the ACC Tournament) in year two under Gregory. No Tech coach since Dwight Keith in 1945 has had a winning record in his second year on the Flats.
Tech continues to be ranked high in the nation in scoring defense (47th) and field goal percentage defense (28th) as of March 3, and ranks fourth in the ACC in each of those categories.
Tech finished its first season in McCamish Pavilion with an 11-6 record (3-6 ACC) and averaged 7,365 in attendance with four sellouts.
Six of Tech’s losses this year have come against teams currently ranked in the top 50 of the CBSSports.com RPI rankings including ACC foes Miami (3), NC State (24), Duke (1) and North Carolina (20). The Yellow Jackets have lost only three times to teams outside the top 100.
Tech’s non-conference losses came to teams with a combined 40-18 record. Illinois is No. 35 in the current CBS RPI rankings, while California is No. 43, Saint Mary’s (25-5, No. 37) has the best overall record and highest ranking among the opponents Tech has beaten.
Tech’s loss to NC State marked the first time in five games the Jackets lost with former Virginia star Cory Alexander calling the game on television. He is on the mic for Tech’s games at Miami and Boston College, and will surpass Atlanta legend Bob Rathbun (six games) for most Tech games called this year. Both have qualified for varsity letters.
Series Notes vs. Miami
Miami has won three straight games over Georgia Tech to take a 10-6 lead in the all-time series.
After winning the first two meetings with Miami after the Hurricanes became members of the ACC, Tech has dropped seven of the last nine. Miami won the only regular-season meeting between the two teams in 2011-12, as well as their ACC Tournament meeting, both games at Philips Arena.
Tech is 1-4 all-time at the BankUnited Center. That victory occurred Feb. 26, 2005.
Miami was the opponent for Tech in its last game at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, a game the Yellow Jackets won 66-57 to close out the 2010-11 regular season, and that remains Tech’s last victory in the series. Tech won four of six games against the Hurricanes in the building.
Ten of the 15 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less.
The last meeting between the two schools prior to Miami’s joining the ACC occurred in December of 1997 as part of the Orange Bowl Classic doubleheader at Miami Arena, the Hurricanes’ home court until the team moved into the on-campus Convocation Center last year. The Yellow Jackets, led that year by senior forward Matt Harpring, won that game, 69-61.
Tech played Miami twice under former head coach Whack Hyder, losing the first-ever meeting in the series by 22 points in 1953, then taking a six-point homecourt victory in 1967. That was the only pre-ACC visit by the Hurricanes to Alexander Memorial Coliseum, and the 90-84 Tech win has been the highest scoring game in the brief series.